Ecuador: The Hidden Paradise Where A Couple Can Live Comfortably On $2,000 a Month or Less
Sell your winter clothes...and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Land of Eternal Spring. Every cliché you've heard about living large on little...on even a retiree's budget...is true in Ecuador.
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Population: 15,439,429 (July 2013 est.)
Capital City: Quito
Climate: Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Time Zone: GMT-5
Language: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Country Code: 593
Coastline: 2,237 km
Read more articles about Ecuador below
“Don’t worry, you won’t have a problem finding a place to stay,” said my friend as we drove into General Villamil Playas (commonly just called “Playas”), the closest beach town to Guayaquil. “The hotels here never fill up.” He should know. He owns a condo in Playas and drives there easily in just over an hour from his home in Guayaquil to spend weekends and holidays at this beach town on Ecuador’s southern coast, named by some as the “sunniest beach” in the country.
- Living a Queenly Life as a Writer in Cuenca, Ecuador
Posted on December 9, 2013 by Susan Schenck
After doing some research online, which included International Living, I moved to Cuenca at age 54. I planned to travel throughout South America, but I just loved it here, feeling no need to go farther south. Then, six months later, at age 55, my teacher’s retirement kicked in, so I could qualify for a pensionado visa, living off my retirement income.
Cut down coconut bunch with machete. Put one or two coconuts in the fridge to get cold. Cut a hole in the top of the coconut. Insert straw…This routine is part of my daily life on the north central coast of Ecuador. My husband Ron and I live in the small fishing village of El Matal near the town of Jama and drink fresh coconut water daily—from our very own coconut trees. El Matal happens to be the setting for the award-winning film Pescador by Sebastian Cordero, but to us it’s just home.
I was asked again the other day what I love most about Ecuador, and as I answered it occurred to me how retired I sounded. I’m not retired, of course, but as I was going over my three big pluses for this country…the weather, the cost of living, and the variety…I realized that all three of these qualities appealed directly to my Inner Retiree.
Are you sick of the rat race? You know the routine…get up, shower, have breakfast, leave the house, get stuck in traffic, put in long hours at the office. Get home, go to bed and do it all again tomorrow. Are you ready for retirement…but looking at your savings you know retirement is out of the question? Here’s how to survive a retirement crisis. You can live a richer lifestyle for less overseas. Many expat couples can live a very comfortable life on a budget of between $1,500 and $2,000 a month…
If there were ever two towns that complement one another perfectly, they would be Montañita and Olòn on the coast of Ecuador. About an hour north along the coast from Salinas—one of Ecuador’s best-known and most popular beach destinations—these two beach towns each offer a very different vibe. Montañita is named for the “little hill” that sits at its north end and separates its picture-perfect golden-sand beach from Olòn’s picture-perfect golden-sand beach. It’s less than a five-minute drive from one to the other, and a taxi ride will cost you just $2.
- Five Places to Get Affordable Health Care Overseas
Posted on November 29, 2013 by Barbara Ross
In the following five countries you will pay less for health care than you do at home. And the quality is at least as good…in fact, many expats say it’s better. Affordable health care isn’t the only reason to move overseas—but it makes the move more attractive. You can get great quality health care for less abroad, lowering your monthly expenses. Panama offers excellent quality health care and modern hospitals in Panama City and other large towns or cities…
Wally and Hazel Mountz thought they had their retirement all figured out. They were building a lakefront home in Georgia when the real estate crash of 2008 shattered their plans. Unwilling to continue working and unable to afford their new mortgage, they started looking abroad. Italy was their first choice, but what they could purchase there would leave them in a rural village without expat companions.
The very thought of moving abroad seems like such an adventure, doesn’t it? The world is full of so many intriguing locations. Which country would you choose? Which city? If you actually pull the trigger and relocate, then the adventure truly begins. Everything is new, exciting, interesting, frustrating, and exhausting all at once. You’re meeting new friends—maybe learning a different language—adapting to a foreign culture, and exploring surrounding areas.
- Expats Reveal Their Five Favorite Restaurants in Ecuador
Posted on November 26, 2013 by Barbara Ross
Ecuador has an abundance of restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Here, our guys on the ground give you their friendly recommendations of five of the best places to eat in Ecuador.
When you move overseas, most things cost less. Health care is cheaper, beachfront property is cheaper and flights are cheaper when you qualify for a retiree program. You can even enjoy a symphony performance for far less than in the U.S., and have a better quality of life for less. Here is a list of five items that are cheaper overseas.
Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city and the economic center of the southern sierra, is well known for its colonial-style architecture, beautiful surroundings and low cost lifestyle. Popular with tourist and expats alike, it is no wonder that Cuenca has made appearances on the best places to retire list. It offers the best city living in Ecuador.
- The More I Got to Know Cuenca, Ecuador, the More I Fell in Love
Posted on November 24, 2013 by James Mola
It was Christmas vacation 2009. I turned on my computer and clicked on Yahoo where a headline caught my attention: “The Top 10 Places in the World to Retire.” I had never heard of the number one city listed, Cuenca, Ecuador. But as I perused the other nine cities, I found something wrong with each of them. They were too hot or too cold, or hot in the summer and cold in the winter, which was just what I wanted to leave behind in Chicago; or they were too far from the U.S.
- 3 Beach Buys on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast—$100,000 or Less
Posted on November 20, 2013 by Margaret Summerfield
A pound of fresh shrimp—$2.50. Someone to cook and clean for you—$20 per day. Property tax of $200-$250 a year on the beach homes below… It’s easy to see why Ecuador tops International Living’s Retirement Index. It’s a top spot for those looking for a comfortable lifestyle that won’t break the bank. And Ecuador rates as one of the best-value destinations on my beat, too. On the country’s unspoiled Pacific coast, in particular, you get a whole lot more for your dollar. And that applies to real estate as well as your cost of living.
- 5 Quick Questions Everyone Should Answer Before Moving Overseas
Posted on November 20, 2013 by Barbara Ross
There are many benefits to moving overseas: the weather is better, your quality of life will improve and you will always have something to do. Here are a few quick questions that you should ask yourself before moving overseas. 1. What type of weather do you like? If you don’t like the snow then you should…
- We Found Nirvana in Ecuador—For Less than $1,500 a Month
Posted on November 18, 2013 by Donald Murray
With the divisive and toxic nature of U.S. politics these days and the associated economic impact, I understand those who might wonder about our motivation for packing a few suitcases and moving to Ecuador’s coast nearly 18 months ago. While politics and the economy had definitely impacted our lives, our reasons for seeking a life outside the United States had nothing to do with political disagreement.
In the Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland, northeast India, the Hornbill Festival is a huge celebration of the indigenous warrior tribes of the region. Taking place between December 1 and 7, the festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, a large and colorful forest bird. You’ll need a government permit to visit, but it’s worth it to experience the beauty contest, archery, wrestling, and lots of singing and dancing.
Tucked away in Ecuador’s imposing Andes mountains are hundreds of green valleys where tumbling rivers nourish fertile soils and temperatures are near perfect all year round. These are among the best places to live in the country, and expats are busily discovering them. You’ll meet couples in this mountainous region who report expenses of $1,440 a month including rent. Most do not own a car.
- Healthier and Happier—The Appeal of Ecuador’s Sacred Valleys
Posted on November 18, 2013 by Suzan Haskins and Edd Staton
A patchwork quilt of blue-green grass stretches before you, complemented here and there with splashes of fuchsia, lavender, coral, bright yellow… The unmistakable aroma of eucalyptus hitches a ride on a fresh breeze, accented by wood smoke that you can just spy wisping its way out of a red-brick chimney poking from an adobe-walled casita, barely visible on the mountainside far across the way.
- Living My Dream Life as an Author in Cuenca, Ecuador
Posted on November 18, 2013 by Susan Schenck
Three years ago I was working up to 60 hours a week as a public-school teacher in San Diego, California. The stress was killing me and depleting my joie de vivre. I didn’t want to work until the day I died, so I decided to escape the hectic and unaffordable U.S.
Winner of the 2013 Global Retirement Index, Ecuador offers sophisticated historical cities…miles of unspoiled, sun-kissed beaches…fertile farmland…and temperate mountain hideaways…and all of it for pennies on the dollar. You can live well for a fraction of the cost of living back in the U.S. And with Ecuador’s official currency the U.S. dollar, you needn’t worry about complicated currency calculations or exchange risks.
In Ecuador, there’s something for everyone…from the die-hard adventurer who wants to follow the path of British mountaineer Edward Whymper up the slopes of 20,702-foot Mount Chimborazo to those who want to learn firsthand why Charles Darwin’s 1835 voyage to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is called “the most famous few weeks in the history of science.”
Ecuador is famous for its colorful festivals and every town in the country has their own traditional celebrations and events throughout the year. Here are our five favorite festivals, taking place over the next couple of months, where Ecuadorians celebrate in style with fireworks, drinking, music and dancing.
- Living Comfortably on $1,317 a Month in Cuenca, Ecuador
Posted on November 10, 2013 by Connie Pombo
When we told our closest friends that we were retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador their first words were, “Wow, that’s really thinking outside of the box!” When it came right down to it, we were trying to figure out how to survive on my husband’s pension from UPS and pay for our medical insurance premiums without both of us having to work full-time until we were in our mid-seventies.
For every substantial, bricks-and mortar business set up by an expat overseas, there are hundreds of small enterprises that people operate from their own homes with very little investment. Within a year of starting their micro-enterprise overseas, Jim and Mariellen Wiemann are making a profit and supplementing their retirement income. “The business allows us to purchase the things we might otherwise not have. We are planning some vacations abroad, and the business will support those adventures,” says Jim.
When I asked my Facebook pals what they liked most about working for themselves I expected to get answers about no stressful commute, no office politics and other annoyances they had left behind. Instead the replies looked like this:• “Having customers from around the world; I never realized I could be a global entrepreneur.”
Ecuador has been at the top of so many international retirement indexes and lists in the past few years that folks are beginning to wonder if there isn’t some kind of conspiracy at work. After all, how can a single country meet every one of the requirements that retirees are looking for overseas? Simple answer—it can’t. No place can.
On Tuesday, I will open my Ecuadorian bank account. No big deal; just a savings account with an ATM card. So, why am I so excited? When we arrived in San Vicente, Ecuador nearly 18 months ago, my wife Diane and I were as prepared as we were able to be, which is to say: we had a lot to learn! We had done our best to get ready for our transition, while attending to the myriad tasks necessary when making an international move.
- See What Your Real Estate Dollar Will Buy in Cuenca
Posted on November 3, 2013 by International Living
Set in Ecuador’s southern Andes, Cuenca sits in a rich green valley with the Andes Mountains forming a majestic backdrop. We rate it as one of the world’s top retirement spots. It’s also a highly affordable city, and a cultural hot spot. For a city its size, Cuenca certainly packs a powerful punch. And what’s more, you can buy here from as little as $79,900. Start planning your Cuenca property tour today.
- Ecuador: Discover the World’s Best-Value Beachfront
Posted on November 3, 2013 by International Living
Boasting mile after mile of beautiful beaches, Ecuador’s South Pacific is also home to some of the world’s most affordable beachfront. We’d like to offer you the chance to discover this stretch of coast for yourself…focusing on the bargain buys and hidden gems…at unbeatable prices. Stake your claim before it’s too late.
Ecuador is the world’s #1 retirement haven. It offers an unbeatable combination of low-cost living and bargain property prices. And its Pacific coast offers some of the most affordable beachfront and ocean-view homes in Latin America. We’ve pinpointed one location on Ecuador’s Pacific coast that offers natural beauty combined with huge upside potential. It’s a place where right now you can own a new beachfront condo for just $94,000. Come and spend a couple of nights in one of the homes in this little community…check out the beach towns close by…and see the potential with your own eyes.
It’s possible to pursue your hobby and bring in some cash before and during retirement. These hobbies can help you to fund your life as a retiree overseas. If you’re dreaming of an apartment in Paris…a beach house in Ecuador…a farmhouse in Italy…and the only thing holding you back is lack of capital…then read on. Your interests can turn into a career that you love…
A lot of folks look forward to and truly enjoy the change of seasons. Spring blossoms…the warmth of summer…fall foliage…bundling up in winter. I would not be included in that group. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather. Whenever it snowed I enjoyed walking around and throwing snowballs for about an hour. Then I was ready for it to go away so I could put on a bathing suit.
I had a cute house with a backyard, a great job, a wonderful marriage, and two beautiful little boys. I was living the American dream, but it didn’t feel like it. The long hours at work meant I didn’t have time to enjoy gardening in the backyard. Our sons Diego and Dante spent more time in daycare than with us. My husband and I were once so stressed that we both forgot our wedding anniversary.
My fiancé and I headed out for a double date with friends in the States recently. We were visiting Florida, and our friends wanted to get our opinion on the authenticity of a new Peruvian restaurant. It was very good and very close to the real thing…right up until the check arrived! Our half of the evening came to $70—but in Cuenca, Ecuador, our home overseas, a similar meal would have been less than $50…for all four of us.
Where is the best beach town in Ecuador to hang your hat? Well, that depends entirely on the lifestyle, climate, and environment you’re after, of course. Because not every beach town is created equally. That’s especially true in Ecuador, where every journey along the country’s 530–mile long Ruta del Sol coast, from the border with Peru northward to Colombia, takes you through several diverse eco-systems.
Not so long ago, only sailors, soldiers and the super wealthy got to see the world. But today, globetrotting isn’t just a job for mariners or the preserve of the jet set. You can cruise to Europe for up to 70% off standard prices if you know how… you can use a host of websites to organize low-cost, luxurious accommodation for a few months—enough time to try a place on for size—before moving on to the next… you can sit on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean sipping wine in April, and kick back on a beach in English-speaking Belize in May…
According to Fidelity Investments in 2012, those aged 55 and older had an average balance of $143,300 in their 401k account. But is this enough to retire on? Maybe not in the U.S., but retiring overseas can be much more affordable than retiring in the U.S.
You’ve got the options of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in cities like Quito, Cuenca, and Salinas… or a more quiet existence in any number of smaller enclaves where you can garden with a view. And your choices extend to the kind of home you’d like as well—from the convenience of a modern high-rise condo…to the space afforded by a single-family home with a yard…to raw land on which you can build your dream escape.
- The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas to Buy Real Estate
Posted on October 22, 2013 by Barbara Ross
Buying real estate overseas is different in each country as they all have their own laws and rules to abide by. But once you have an in-country attorney the process should be straightforward. In International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index 2013 we took real estate into consideration when coming up with the best places to retire overseas.
Upcoming Event in Ecuador
Live Well in Ecuador On Your Social Security Check
Event Date: Feb 07, 2013
Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference
February 7-9 - Quito, Ecuador
You can afford to retire, and in style! An apartment with spectacular views of the lush Andes mountains or blue Pacific Ocean…a colonial city where the sun shines every day… fresh, healthy food…friends who share your interests… household cleaning help for just $10… You can have it all… Join us in Ecuador this February for our Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference and you'll discover a place where you can live life like it’s meant to be lived.
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